Four teams have emerged winners of the inaugural Nairobi Negawatt Weekend, having pitched their ideas aimed at transforming the city’s use of energy to a panel of judges.
Disrupt Africa has previously reported the World Bank’s Negawatt Challenge hosts innovation competitions in cities worldwide; with locations selected based on the government’s energy efficiency and low carbon growth, as well as the existence of dynamic and growing entrepreneurial and technology sectors.
The Challenge spans four months, and consists of four phases. The Nairobi Definition Day was held in January, identifying the key energy problems to form the challenge statements of the competition.
The Negawatt Weekend saw 14 teams participate, working through the weekend with mentors to streamline their business models and create viable prototypes. The weekend culminated with the teams pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, with six teams selected to compete head to head in a pitching competition.
Of the six finalists, the four winners selected were Plugin – aiming to improve energy consumption patterns by collecting data on user’s electricity consumption and then relaying it to a mobile app which analyses usage patterns; Angaza – providing a hardware solution that allows usage of solar energy in small bits by many users instead of provision of a bulk and costly solution to a single user; Watt Saver, aiming to reduce power consumption by eliminating standby energy losses in fully charged plugged-in gadgets that are not in use; and Wezesha Huduma, which provides biogas and solar energy to slum dwellers at reduced cost by incorporating affordable and efficient technologies.
“It was amazing to see the sheer dedication and level of innovation and creativity by the participants and the mentors. I am confident that Nairobi could produce the overall Negawatt Challenge winner. It was a very competitive hackathon and all the solutions presented have great potential to scale and address Nairobi’s most pressing energy efficiency challenges,” said Bernard Chiira, incubation manager at the Nairobi host of the Negawatt Weekend @iBizAfrica at Strathmore University.
The four winners progress to the three-week Negawatt Bootcamp, where they will receive intensive coaching in the technical and business aspects of product development.
In the final stage of the competition, the winner from each regional bootcamp will pitch head-to-head at a Demo Day to be held in Barcelona, Spain.
Disrupt Africa recently reported the Accra leg of the Negawatt Weekend was held in Ghana, with the four finalists selected; while the Tanzanian Weekend is took place in Dar-es-Salaam over this weekend, with the finalists due to be announced.